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Michael Nickerson-Rossi
Artistic Director/Founder

Chad Allen Ortiz

Executive Director

Academy and Education Outreach

Tori Beaty 
Palm Desert Front Desk

Corey Levine 
DEI Outreach Coordinator

Denise Bowman
Grants for Youth and Community

Gemma Garcia 
Public School Coordinator Assistant

Hailee Mitchell 
Private School Program Coordinator

Leadership Staff

MICHAEL NICKERSON-ROSSI, Founder/Artistic Director

Michael Nickerson-Rossi is the artistic visionary and choreographer behind Nickerson-Rossi Dance. Nickerson-Rossi's repertoire is known for its intricate and emotional qualities. Nickerson-Rossi has created works for various dance companies and educational institutions, and has been the Creative Director of Dance at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center and the Palm Springs Art Museum. 

Nickerson-Rossi's teaching career has brought him to over 35 universities and colleges across the nation, currently teaching as a n adjunct at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. 

Passionate about using dance as a therapeutic tool, providing comprehensive dance education to youth, and creating equitable access to the art of dance, Michael has deeply rooted himself in the Coachella Valley. He has created impactful dance programs through his Academy (the official school of Nickerson-Rossi Dance), the uNdeRstanD therapeutic outreach, the International Dance Festival, and his very own dance theatre "Nickerson-Rossi's Dance House." 

“He’s the real thing,” said Janice Steinberg from Dance Magazine.  

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CHAD ALLEN ORTIZ, Executive Director

Chad Ortiz is from Temecula, California, and trained under the mentorship of his brother, George Ortiz Jr. Chad began as an apprentice of Nickerson-Rossi Dance and is now the Executive Director and Principal Dancer.


Chad oversees a variety of high-profile programs, from Directing at the Academy (the official school of NRD), Directing all educational outreach efforts, and Co-Directing the International Dance Festival. Chad's teaching career has also brought him to numerous amounts of dance institutions, school districts, and universities throughout the nation, and is currently an adjunct at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. 


Most notably Chad is celebrated as a dancer, performing company repertoire for over a decade.


Chad has danced internationally with the Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company and has also worked with the Union Dance Project, PGK Dance Project, Brandywine Ballet, Compulsions Dance & Theater, a national touring group for Romeo & Juliet, and was represented by MINT models in NYC. 


John Bianchin

Denise Bowman

Michaeleen Gallagher

Laurie Bianchin

Jim Hormel
Head Chair

Mitch Blumberg

Committee / Advisory 

Richard Jay-Alexander

Jamie Nichols

Terri Ketover

Danae Sheehan

Debbie Green Miller

Jaishri Mehta

Honorary Board

Michael Childers

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